zelph

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Maximum Justice & Maximum Mercy = Incoherant
« on: April 14, 2014, 09:45:20 pm »
A maximally great being cannot be both maximally just and maximally merciful for to express one trait is to diminish the other.

Thoughts?

I have heard people try and say that Jesus solves this but the idea of an innocent person being punished for the wicked does not seem like justice to me.

Just because something is "the best explanation" it doesn't mean it's a good explanation.. Zeus was once the best explanation for thunder and lightning!

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Vimbiso

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Re: Maximum Justice & Maximum Mercy = Incoherant
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2014, 05:55:29 am »
A maximally great being cannot be both maximally just and maximally merciful for to express one trait is to diminish the other.

Thoughts?

I have heard people try and say that Jesus solves this but the idea of an innocent person being punished for the wicked does not seem like justice to me.

@zelph what you need to do before drawing these conclusions is define what you mean by maximally just and maximally merciful. If by maximal you mean perfect then I do not see how perfect justice and perfect mercy are incompatible. Let's keep it simple. Being just simply means being fair and consistent with what is morally right therefore when we say God is just we mean He always acts and judges in a way that is fair and consistent with perfect moral standards. Being merciful simply means being compassionate and forgiving. Your argument can be distilled to the proposition a person that is fair and consistent with what is right is incapable of being compassionate and forgiving. Obviously this is not true and Jesus doesn't need to solve this "problem"; without Christ's atoning death, God still remains just and merciful.

Your argument is really embedded in your response to the assertion that Jesus fulfills God's demand for justice while at the same time showing mercy. Your assertion is that justice is not served when an innocent person is punished for someone else's sin. Is that really true? If I do something wrong but someone else is punished for it then you are right when you say that is not justice. But what if that person voluntarily chooses to take the punishment for me? Imagine you have been fined $100 million for a crime you committed and I have $100 billion cash in the bank. I see that you totally incapable of paying the fine and that you will live life as a slave to the courts working off that fine. Filled with compassion, I approach the courts and offer to pay your fine; afterall the $100 million is only 0.1% of my cash in the bank (It's proportionally equivalent to being asked to pay a fine of $1 when you have $1,000 in the bank). The courts demanded that the fine is paid and the fine is paid therefore justice has been served. If the courts had forced me to pay your fine then justice would not have been served.

This is similar to what Christ did. The just reward for our sin is a price we cannot pay for it means eternal damnation. God being just requires that this price is paid. However, God also being kind and compassionate taking pity on us sends Jesus, who voluntarily agrees, to pay the price on our behalf. Being divine, Jesus is able to pay the price and therefore justice is served.
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Re: Maximum Justice & Maximum Mercy = Incoherant
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2014, 02:37:15 pm »

Your argument is really embedded in your response to the assertion that Jesus fulfills God's demand for justice while at the same time showing mercy. Your assertion is that justice is not served when an innocent person is punished for someone else's sin. Is that really true? If I do something wrong but someone else is punished for it then you are right when you say that is not justice. But what if that person voluntarily chooses to take the punishment for me? Imagine you have been fined $100 million for a crime you committed and I have $100 billion cash in the bank. I see that you totally incapable of paying the fine and that you will live life as a slave to the courts working off that fine. Filled with compassion, I approach the courts and offer to pay your fine; afterall the $100 million is only 0.1% of my cash in the bank (It's proportionally equivalent to being asked to pay a fine of $1 when you have $1,000 in the bank). The courts demanded that the fine is paid and the fine is paid therefore justice has been served. If the courts had forced me to pay your fine then justice would not have been served.

This is similar to what Christ did. The just reward for our sin is a price we cannot pay for it means eternal damnation. God being just requires that this price is paid. However, God also being kind and compassionate taking pity on us sends Jesus, who voluntarily agrees, to pay the price on our behalf. Being divine, Jesus is able to pay the price and therefore justice is served.

If that person deserves to be punished with a fine of $100 million or some equivalent amout of labour for whatever crime he or she has comitted, then it is not just that someone else pays for that person regardless of how much money the benefactor has in his or her account. If you allow a benefactor to be punished in the place of the convicted, the guilty person goes off free of punishment. How can you call this justice? It's not about paying off a debt that someone else could do for you, but personal retribution for the crimes you did.

Consider this: There is a pair of twins called A and B. If A commited murder and is sentenced for life, can you allow his brother B who voluntarily wants to be punished in the place of his twin brother out of love for him to go to prison instead? If B is punished with life sentence, while the murderer A goes around free of charges, do you honestly think justice is served?
Reason and emotion are what make us human. But reason without emotion is cruelty, emotion without reason is stupidity.

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Vimbiso

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Re: Maximum Justice & Maximum Mercy = Incoherant
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2014, 03:19:27 am »

Your argument is really embedded in your response to the assertion that Jesus fulfills God's demand for justice while at the same time showing mercy. Your assertion is that justice is not served when an innocent person is punished for someone else's sin. Is that really true? If I do something wrong but someone else is punished for it then you are right when you say that is not justice. But what if that person voluntarily chooses to take the punishment for me? Imagine you have been fined $100 million for a crime you committed and I have $100 billion cash in the bank. I see that you totally incapable of paying the fine and that you will live life as a slave to the courts working off that fine. Filled with compassion, I approach the courts and offer to pay your fine; afterall the $100 million is only 0.1% of my cash in the bank (It's proportionally equivalent to being asked to pay a fine of $1 when you have $1,000 in the bank). The courts demanded that the fine is paid and the fine is paid therefore justice has been served. If the courts had forced me to pay your fine then justice would not have been served.

This is similar to what Christ did. The just reward for our sin is a price we cannot pay for it means eternal damnation. God being just requires that this price is paid. However, God also being kind and compassionate taking pity on us sends Jesus, who voluntarily agrees, to pay the price on our behalf. Being divine, Jesus is able to pay the price and therefore justice is served.

If that person deserves to be punished with a fine of $100 million or some equivalent amout of labour for whatever crime he or she has comitted, then it is not just that someone else pays for that person regardless of how much money the benefactor has in his or her account. If you allow a benefactor to be punished in the place of the convicted, the guilty person goes off free of punishment. How can you call this justice? It's not about paying off a debt that someone else could do for you, but personal retribution for the crimes you did.

Consider this: There is a pair of twins called A and B. If A commited murder and is sentenced for life, can you allow his brother B who voluntarily wants to be punished in the place of his twin brother out of love for him to go to prison instead? If B is punished with life sentence, while the murderer A goes around free of charges, do you honestly think justice is served?

@Wey Remember it is up to the court to accept the voluntary substitution and if it pleases the court then yes justice has been served. Obviously if you were the authority you would not accept voluntary substitution which means no one would be able to help those who have fallen foul of the law but are incapable of reparations. While overcome with pity for those who are being punished, we would watch helplessly even though we had the means to show mercy. My example was to highlight two things; first, God is that court that has determined that Christ's voluntary substitution is sufficient to meet His requirement for justice. Afterall it's God who judges and it's God who shows mercy. If you don't think justice has been served that's your prerogative. Second, Jesus, who is divine in nature, is able to bear our punishment without significant injury. Being a person who is full of compassion He was more than happy to bear our punishment. In your world, He shouldn't be doing this; he shouldn't exercise His divine right to pay the price on our behalf. Why deny Him that right?
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Re: Maximum Justice & Maximum Mercy = Incoherant
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2014, 04:42:23 am »

Your argument is really embedded in your response to the assertion that Jesus fulfills God's demand for justice while at the same time showing mercy. Your assertion is that justice is not served when an innocent person is punished for someone else's sin. Is that really true? If I do something wrong but someone else is punished for it then you are right when you say that is not justice. But what if that person voluntarily chooses to take the punishment for me? Imagine you have been fined $100 million for a crime you committed and I have $100 billion cash in the bank. I see that you totally incapable of paying the fine and that you will live life as a slave to the courts working off that fine. Filled with compassion, I approach the courts and offer to pay your fine; afterall the $100 million is only 0.1% of my cash in the bank (It's proportionally equivalent to being asked to pay a fine of $1 when you have $1,000 in the bank). The courts demanded that the fine is paid and the fine is paid therefore justice has been served. If the courts had forced me to pay your fine then justice would not have been served.

This is similar to what Christ did. The just reward for our sin is a price we cannot pay for it means eternal damnation. God being just requires that this price is paid. However, God also being kind and compassionate taking pity on us sends Jesus, who voluntarily agrees, to pay the price on our behalf. Being divine, Jesus is able to pay the price and therefore justice is served.

If that person deserves to be punished with a fine of $100 million or some equivalent amout of labour for whatever crime he or she has comitted, then it is not just that someone else pays for that person regardless of how much money the benefactor has in his or her account. If you allow a benefactor to be punished in the place of the convicted, the guilty person goes off free of punishment. How can you call this justice? It's not about paying off a debt that someone else could do for you, but personal retribution for the crimes you did.

Consider this: There is a pair of twins called A and B. If A commited murder and is sentenced for life, can you allow his brother B who voluntarily wants to be punished in the place of his twin brother out of love for him to go to prison instead? If B is punished with life sentence, while the murderer A goes around free of charges, do you honestly think justice is served?

@Wey Remember it is up to the court to accept the voluntary substitution and if it pleases the court then yes justice has been served. Obviously if you were the authority you would not accept voluntary substitution which means no one would be able to help those who have fallen foul of the law but are incapable of reparations. While overcome with pity for those who are being punished, we would watch helplessly even though we had the means to show mercy. My example was to highlight two things; first, God is that court that has determined that Christ's voluntary substitution is sufficient to meet His requirement for justice. Afterall it's God who judges and it's God who shows mercy. If you don't think justice has been served that's your prerogative. Second, Jesus, who is divine in nature, is able to bear our punishment without significant injury. Being a person who is full of compassion He was more than happy to bear our punishment. In your world, He shouldn't be doing this; he shouldn't exercise His divine right to pay the price on our behalf. Why deny Him that right?

What is the point of punishment, if it is not duly fullfilled by those who deserve it? You are speaking of pity, but does not the offender fully deserve the punishment that is passed on him? If the punishment is fair and just, why would you ever think of denying it? If you show mercy to the offender, then you show no consideration for the victims. Who will serve justice to make up for the victims? If the offender is exempted from punishment, what has he done himself to make good of his wrongs? Justice is the personal retribution that makes up for the wrongs that one has done. This is not my personal opinion, but what justice means in its conceptional essense. It does not matter what any court authority subjectively thinks about justice, because an eye for an eye is what justice is as a principle. If you want to find a substitution for you, then you are scapegoating or looking for loopholes, which essentially destroys the concept of justice. If the punishment is fair and just, then no question everone should accept it and should not do anything to get away from it. If you think that it is good to be exempted from punishment, then you do not believe that the punishment that is passed on you is rightful and just in the first place. When you turn to someone to take the punishment away from you, you are actually denying that the punishment is rightful and in fact you do not acknowledge that such a punishment is what you justfully deserve. If you really believe that you rightfully deserve such punishment, you would not think twice about taking it upon youself, even if it means death. If some people get away from rightfully deserved punishment because a benefactor in high (court) position allows it, that someone is destroying justice itself.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 05:00:10 am by Wey »
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Vimbiso

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Re: Maximum Justice & Maximum Mercy = Incoherant
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2014, 05:42:51 am »
What is the point of punishment, if it is not duly fullfilled by those who deserve it? You are speaking of pity, but does not the offender fully deserve the punishment that is passed on him? If the punishment is fair and just, why would you ever think of denying it? If you show mercy to the offender, then you show no consideration for the victims. Who will serve justice to make up for the victims? If the offender is exempted from punishment, what has he done himself to make good of his wrongs? Justice is the personal retribution that makes up for the wrongs that one has done. This is not my personal opinion, but what justice means in its conceptional essense. It does not matter what any court authority subjectively thinks about justice, because an eye for an eye is what justice is as a principle. If you want to find a substitution for you, then you are scapegoating or looking for loopholes, which essentially destroys the concept of justice. If the punishment is fair and just, then no question everone should accept it and should not do anything to get away from it. If you think that it is good to be exempted from punishment, then you do not believe that the punishment that is passed on you is rightful and just in the first place. When you turn to someone to take the punishment away from you, you are actually denying that the punishment is rightful and in fact you do not acknowledge that such a punishment is what you justfully deserve. If you really believe that you rightfully deserve such punishment, you would not think twice about taking it upon youself, even if it means death. If some people get away from punishment because of a benefactor in high (court) position allows it, that someone is destroying justice.

@Wey pardon the personal question but am I safe in assuming you have never forgiven someone who has wronged you? You seem to be hung up on requiring that justice is only justice if the perpetrator is punished. What if the victim wants to forgive? Should we deny the victim their right to show mercy? Second you also forget that wrongdoers may repent of their sin. The ultimate authority reserves the right to set the price for justice. God, the ultimate authority, is willing to allow for voluntary substitution but it's not without conditions. The wrongdoer must repent. God is willing to show mercy to who all show contrition.

We sin against God and we deserve to be punished. In this case God is the victim. The victim, God, demands justice and He gets it. Sin must be punished and indeed in Christ it is. The victim, God, is also willing to show mercy if only the wrongdoer repents. In this situation God is the victim, the judge and the one who takes our punishment. Your problem with God's justice is that a repentant sinner is forgiven and that rankles you.

You say, "Justice is the personal retribution that makes up for the wrongs that one has done." This is simply your own definition of justice which is rather constrictive. Justice is simply the principle of maintaining equity in all things. As long as there is equity in the transaction, it is just. If God is willing to accept as fair the substitutionary punishment of Christ as recompense for our sins then at least according to Him equity has been maintained. You may disagree with this which, I reiterate, is your prerogative. You leave no room for mercy hence my question at the beginning of this post.
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Re: Maximum Justice & Maximum Mercy = Incoherant
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2014, 06:19:16 am »
What is the point of punishment, if it is not duly fullfilled by those who deserve it? You are speaking of pity, but does not the offender fully deserve the punishment that is passed on him? If the punishment is fair and just, why would you ever think of denying it? If you show mercy to the offender, then you show no consideration for the victims. Who will serve justice to make up for the victims? If the offender is exempted from punishment, what has he done himself to make good of his wrongs? Justice is the personal retribution that makes up for the wrongs that one has done. This is not my personal opinion, but what justice means in its conceptional essense. It does not matter what any court authority subjectively thinks about justice, because an eye for an eye is what justice is as a principle. If you want to find a substitution for you, then you are scapegoating or looking for loopholes, which essentially destroys the concept of justice. If the punishment is fair and just, then no question everone should accept it and should not do anything to get away from it. If you think that it is good to be exempted from punishment, then you do not believe that the punishment that is passed on you is rightful and just in the first place. When you turn to someone to take the punishment away from you, you are actually denying that the punishment is rightful and in fact you do not acknowledge that such a punishment is what you justfully deserve. If you really believe that you rightfully deserve such punishment, you would not think twice about taking it upon youself, even if it means death. If some people get away from punishment because of a benefactor in high (court) position allows it, that someone is destroying justice.

@Wey pardon the personal question but am I safe in assuming you have never forgiven someone who has wronged you? You seem to be hung up on requiring that justice is only justice if the perpetrator is punished. What if the victim wants to forgive? Should we deny the victim their right to show mercy? Second you also forget that wrongdoers may repent of their sin. The ultimate authority reserves the right to set the price for justice. God, the ultimate authority, is willing to allow for voluntary substitution but it's not without conditions. The wrongdoer must repent. God is willing to show mercy to who all show contrition.

We sin against God and we deserve to be punished. In this case God is the victim. The victim, God, demands justice and He gets it. Sin must be punished and indeed in Christ it is. The victim, God, is also willing to show mercy if only the wrongdoer repents. In this situation God is the victim, the judge and the one who takes our punishment. Your problem with God's justice is that a repentant sinner is forgiven and that rankles you.

You say, "Justice is the personal retribution that makes up for the wrongs that one has done." This is simply your own definition of justice which is rather constrictive. Justice is simply the principle of maintaining equity in all things. As long as there is equity in the transaction, it is just. If God is willing to accept as fair the substitutionary punishment of Christ as recompense for our sins then at least according to Him equity has been maintained. You may disagree with this which, I reiterate, is your prerogative. You leave no room for mercy hence my question at the beginning of this post.

Of course I have forgiven people, but that does not take away the retribution that they deserve. Forgiveness is about feelings, you may cease to hate or resent the ones who offended you, when you forgive them. But that is not enough to take away retribution or rightful punishment, because justice is not just about your personal feelings. You need to keep up the authority of justice, or else everone would violate the rules first and seek absolution later and the order of justice itself collapses. Of course repentence and doing good works to make up are all part of retribution, but it is not always enough.

If I allow someone to be exempt from due punishment I do so with full knowledge that I have let my emotions like pity taken over and shut my eyes towards the code of justice. But in such a case, it is very likely that I do not consider the punishment rightful, or else I would not (emotionally) question it in the first place. When you pity someone because of the severity of the punishment that is passed on that person and want to free him from punishment, it means that you do not consider the punishment rightful or appropiate and you believe that the offender does not really deserve such severe punishment. If you really believe that the punishment is appropiate, would you still feel pity towards the one who is to be punished or want to free that person? Imagine Hitler is due to be executed, do you pity him and want him to be freed?

Why do you ask God for forgiveness? If you murder, steal or rape someone, you should ask forgiveness from the one who is murdered, robbed or raped by you. Do you really think someone else could forgive you in their place? If I were a murderer, thief or rapist, I do not think I could ever fully forgive myself, because what is done cannot be undone. Do you forgive yourself and wash off your personal guilt just like that?
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 06:30:02 am by Wey »
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Vimbiso

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Re: Maximum Justice & Maximum Mercy = Incoherant
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2014, 06:54:07 am »
@Wey
Forgiveness is about feelings, you may cease to hate or resent the ones who offended you, when you forgive them. But that is not enough to take away retribution or rightful punishment, because justice is not just about your personal feelings.

Forgiveness is completely absolving someone from their debt. If forgiveness doesn't take away the retribution or rightful punishment then it's not forgiveness.

Quote
When you pity someone because of the severity of the punishment that is passed on that person and want to free him from punishment, it means that you do not consider the punishment rightful or appropiate and you believe that the offender does not really deserve such severe punishment.

God does pity us because of the severity of the punishment but that doesn't mean it's not deserved. We feel sorry for many young people that throw their lives away when they are jailed for various crimes but we still agree that they should be punished. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Quote
Why do you ask God for forgiveness? If you murder, steal or rape someone, you should ask forgiveness from the one who is murdered, robbed or raped by you. Do you really think someone else could forgive you in their place?

I ask God for forgiveness because if I rape, steal or murder, not only have I sinned against the victim, I ultimately would have sinned against God. So I ask both the victim and God for forgiveness. There is no way I can harden my heart against the victim all the while being contrite before God.

Quote
If I were a murderer, thief or rapist, I do not think I could ever fully forgive myself, because what is done cannot be undone. Do you forgive yourself and wash off your personal guilt just like that?

You are right what is done cannot be undone which is why mercy is crucial. Guilt is a cancer that can destroy and we all struggle with it therefore I do not wash off my personal guilt just like that. God aids us by removing that guilt having satisfied the righteous requirement for justice in Christ. When we struggle with guilt we learn to forgive ourselves and it helps with our restoration to know that we have been forgiven. I agree with God in that He first seeks to restore the wrongdoer to righteousness rather than condemn. God is slow to anger but swift to bless.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 08:31:53 am by Vimbiso »
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Re: Maximum Justice & Maximum Mercy = Incoherant
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2014, 07:09:22 pm »
God does pity us because of the severity of the punishment but that doesn't mean it's not deserved. We feel sorry for many young people that throw their lives away when they are jailed for various crimes but we still agree that they should be punished. The two are not mutually exclusive.

We feel pity for these young people because their wrongs is relativised because of their own inexperience or immaturity. So we feel that such severe punishment is not appropiate for them. If they were older, would you still feel the same pity for their punishments?


You are right what is done cannot be undone which is why mercy is crucial. Guilt is a cancer that can destroy and we all struggle with it therefore I do not wash off my personal guilt just like that. God aids us by removing that guilt having satisfied the righteous requirement for justice in Christ. When we struggle with guilt we learn to forgive ourselves and it helps with our restoration to know that we have been forgiven. I agree with God in that He first seeks to restore the wrongdoer to righteousness rather than condemn. God is slow to anger but swift to bless.

“He who is kind to those who are cruel will end up being cruel to those who are kind.” 

You make the ones who are guilty look like victims of guilt, who are suffering from their own guilt. But in fact, they deserve every bit of that guilt if it is a rightful consequence of what they have done. You should look after the real victims who suffered at the hands of the wrong-doers. If God forgives the guilty, who delivers justice to their actual victims?

I dont think absolution from retribution is a fulfillment of justice. It is rather an exception to the order of justice, something that topples the principle of mutual equivalence that justice is founded on.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2014, 07:56:22 pm by Wey »
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Vimbiso

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Re: Maximum Justice & Maximum Mercy = Incoherant
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2014, 05:19:25 am »
We feel pity for these young people because their wrongs is relativised because of their own inexperience or immaturity. So we feel that such severe punishment is not appropiate for them. If they were older, would you still feel the same pity for their punishments?

That is why minors are actually punished less severely for the same crimes as their adult counterparts and even you agree that it is still justice even though there is that element of mercy i.e. the commutation of the punishment. Feeling pity for the punishment that someone has been handed by the law does not preclude one from still agreeing that the perpetrator has received their just deserts.

Quote
“He who is kind to those who are cruel will end up being cruel to those who are kind.” 

You make the ones who are guilty look like victims of guilt, who are suffering from their own guilt. But in fact, they deserve every bit of that guilt if it is a rightful consequence of what they have done. You should look after the real victims who suffered at the hands of the wrong-doers. If God forgives the guilty, who delivers justice to their actual victims?

I dont think absolution from retribution is a fulfillment of justice. It is rather an exception to the order of justice, something that topples the principle of mutual equivalence that justice is founded on.

To make things clear I do not make the guilty victims rather I was highlighting the struggles of the contrite. Even though the contrite are still deserving of their punishment God, by His mercy, first seeks to restore the repentant person rather than destroy them. What you are saying is God should not even exercise His sovereign right to show mercy. In fact you have discharged what Christ did on the cross as an injustice. You find His sacrifice unacceptable and demand that all who sin be condemned. You leave no room for hope of redemption or even reconciliation. God doesn't forget the victim because He promises to restore to the victim what has been lost.
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Re: Maximum Justice & Maximum Mercy = Incoherant
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2014, 09:08:17 am »

To make things clear I do not make the guilty victims rather I was highlighting the struggles of the contrite. Even though the contrite are still deserving of their punishment God, by His mercy, first seeks to restore the repentant person rather than destroy them. What you are saying is God should not even exercise His sovereign right to show mercy. In fact you have discharged what Christ did on the cross as an injustice. You find His sacrifice unacceptable and demand that all who sin be condemned. You leave no room for hope of redemption or even reconciliation. God doesn't forget the victim because He promises to restore to the victim what has been lost.

You can stil reconciliate after the retribution is fulfilled.

I dont think that Christ comitted any injustice per se. It is rather those who cruxified him that have done a great injustice to Christ, if Christ is really as innocent as it is told in the gospels. Dont you think it is an outrageous injustice that Christ was betrayed and murdered at the cross by men despite being completely innocent and without sin? So the cruxification in fact prolonged the list of the wrongs done by men rather than making up for the wrongs that had already been there. And forgiving the wrongdoers with the justification of a severe injustice that was committed against Christ just fuels more injustice.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2014, 11:25:10 am by Wey »
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jockito

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Re: Maximum Justice & Maximum Mercy = Incoherant
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2016, 10:22:33 pm »
I didn't see a solid reason in this thread to think that maximal justice and maximal mercy can be co-exemplified. Are these both considered great making properties?